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Premium Member
2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid, 1993 BMW 325i convertible
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6,077 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
OK, I'll ask this here, even though it isn't MB, because I know we've got a lot of talented mechanics here....

The new rack is busting my balls (not a peep from you, Rowdie). Getting the old one out and the new one is was too simple, so something had to hold everything up. It's the fucked up linkage between the steering column and the rack. It's all u joints and compression fittings. I'm sure it's very safe in a front end collision, but there's not one damned thing to pry on to get that stupid block onto the spindle for the new rack. I've tried driving a large screwdriver into the slit to get it to open up a little, and all that did was smash my thumb. I tried pounding on the back end of the steering rack to force it on, and that just separated the linkage in all that stupid mess they call a steering coupler.

Does anyone have any tricks to getting this damned thing open so I can put it on the rack and finally get the steering finished in this car? Other than that, all I have is maybe two hours of work tomorrow (and I'm taking it in to have the struts done - too much fun for me), but as long as this isn't connected, the car isn't going anywhere.

This is the block (and what I can capture of the steering linkage). You can see where I've tried to wedge it open with a screwdriver driven into that slit. So far that's not as rewarding as I'd hoped.
DamnedThing.jpg
 

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Registered
1978 280slc
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3,203 Posts
Go over to grassroot motorsports, there is a lot of advice about e30 bmw's, it is one of their favorite cars and I'm sure someone has attacked this problem before.
 

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R/C107 Moderator
1986 560SL: '84 500SL: '84 280SL 5 speed: other 107s
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32,356 Posts
I can't help you Scott. Your comment on the BMW Forum is exactly what my friend said.
He has an '87 black on tan and last night he called to tell me he bought a nice '88 triple black with LSD.
Maybe I can reach him tomorrow to see what he says.

He is also amazed at the number of pictures that are posted here.
 

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1980 450SL & 1988 560SL
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1,667 Posts
I would have tried the screwdriver thing too. If it's a "getting it started in the hole thing" I can't see where it would hurt anything if you tapered the shaft with a file on the end to get it started. Just up the shaft an 1/8 or 3/16 or so taper and with the screwdriver wedge in place and some grease on the splines.............. it's gotta go. Or a bigger hammer.
 

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Premium Member
2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid, 1993 BMW 325i convertible
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6,077 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
In spite of my frustration with this, I'm happy with the car itself. It also has LSD, and the 5 speed is a nice touch. CA emissions testing shows the maximum allowed reading, the average reading for all cars, and the actual measured reading for your car. This passed emissions at just a fraction (~25%) of the average reading, and way below the max reading. So no leaking valve seals, nothing leaking past the rings, and no oil leaks at all from the engine or transmission. The bottom of the car is grunged up from PS fluid leaking from the old rack, but that's it. Once I get past this relatively minor crap, this is going to be a sweet setup.

And I just got the insurance renewal for the cars. $300 per year for full coverage on the BMW, $1050 per year for full coverage on the Honda. Add in the $6,000 a year we'll be saving on lack of car payments, and it makes this temporary hassle worth it, no matter how frustrating it is in the short term.

I like the idea of the file. I have to go get an offset box end 17mm this morning, I think I'll pick up a file at the same time. Thanks, guys. I was thinking about taking the coupling out of the car and drilling it out slightly, but I didn't think I could find a drill bit that would fit into my press and still be big enough to help with anything. The knuckle is just aluminum, so it should be simple to take out just enough to allow it to slide on.
 

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Registered
82 380SL 96 SL500 03 SL500
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6,165 Posts
I gotta ask the obvious question. Are you sure it is the correct rack???

If it's correct, it should only be an issue only with alignment.... Is there room in the ujoint area of the coupling for an end of a c-clamp to allow you to pull it onto the shaft? Just grasping at straws.
 

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Premium Member
2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid, 1993 BMW 325i convertible
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6,077 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
I gotta ask the obvious question. Are you sure it is the correct rack???
This is the correct rack, the old one wasn't. Apparently a PO (not my dad or sister, probably my ex-nephew) replaced the proper rack with one that offered a tighter steering ratio, for more responsive steering. Since a) I don't like mismatched parts, and b) this is for MOH, who drives like my grandma, I thought about getting the same rack back for all of 10 seconds before rejecting the idea. This is the correct rack, and it's being installed.

So after all the drama, heartache and pain, here's what it came down to:

A trip to Sears this morning for an offset 17mm box end wrench and a set of files, to grind away at the inside of the steering knuckle and make it big enough to go over the spindle. After 2 minutes of filing, a little voice in the back of my head said Don't you have a carbide steel bit for your Dremel? Back out from under the car, and sure enough, there's a useful bit in my Dremel case. 5 more minutes with the Dremel, split about evenly between grinding and fit-checking, and the knuckle slid right over the spindle with no fuss. I'm guessing I had to remove less than a millimeter from all sides of the knuckle for it to fit - I didn't even wear away the spindle marks that were in it. The bolt, washer and nut are back on, everything is tightened up, and the wheel hubs have an eyeball alignment that will be turned into an actual alignment as soon as I finish the flex disc. I'm guessing I'll be done by 3:00, if there's no line at the alignment place. NF - you're a lifesaver!

Note to anyone running into a similar situation in the future: I bought that Dremel 10 years ago for $90. It's been the best tool investment I ever made, and this is just the latest example.
 

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Premium Member
2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid, 1993 BMW 325i convertible
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6,077 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
And I have to make a confession - there's one area that I like BMW engineering over MB's. Yes, I know that's blasphemy, but there it is.

BMW installed something they call a "vibration damper" around the flex disc. Basically it's a big, thick metal sleeve that wraps all the way around the flex disc. If it goes in this car, you're stranded, but you're not staring at the ground through the hole your driveshaft just chewed through the bottom of your car (and maybe wondering where those chunks of skin went from your calves.) It's simple, it's smart, and I have to wonder why MB didn't do the same thing all across the board.

Of course, MB put a centering pin into their steering boxes, and BMW didn't. The Mensa candidates over at the BMW forum suggested I just take the steering wheel off and re-seat it, ignoring the fact that I had 1.5 turns to the left and 2.5 turns to the right, and that the blinker shutoff wouldn't work for shit if I did that. And they suggested that the vibration damper was over-rated and I didn't need to reinstall it after taking out the old flex disc.
 

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Premium Member
2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid, 1993 BMW 325i convertible
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6,077 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Well, there's not much to say about them Bimmer owners then, is there?
Hey, I'm an MB guy who happens to also own a BMW. :p

Totally different than your typical BMW owner.
 

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1986 560 SL
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7,355 Posts
The label on your things does not determine your worth as a human being.
Deeds speak.
In case you were wondering....
 

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'87 190E 2.3-16
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411 Posts

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Registered
1974 450sl 1994 bmw 530i 1995 f150 2007 FJCruiser trd se
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41 Posts
$300 a year for full insurance coverage on the bimmer? Who t fk is your insurance company? :)
 

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Premium Member
2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid, 1993 BMW 325i convertible
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6,077 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
$300 a year for full insurance coverage on the bimmer? Who t fk is your insurance company? :)
AAA SoCal. Same company that insures all the rest of my cars.
 
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